The Link Between Migraines and Depression
In studies published in well-respected sources like the Neurology journal, researchers report a link between migraines and depression. People with pre-existing migraines seem to be at a higher risk for developing depression, and people with pre-existing depression seem to be at a higher risk for developing migraines. Interestingly, researchers don’t find a similar relationship between depression and other types of severe headaches.
Could there be a link with magnesium, too?
What causes the migraine-depression link remains unclear, but an article from Psychology Today has us looking at an intriguing idea: Could the link be a magnesium deficiency?
According to the 2011 article, “Magnesium and the Brain: The Original Chill Pill” by Emily Deans, MD, research published decades ago in The New England Journal of Medicine reported that “magnesium deficiency could cause depression, behavioral disturbances, headaches, muscle cramps, seizures, ataxia, psychosis, and irritability —all reversible with magnesium repletion.” Dean also references a 2006 article, “Rapid Recovery from Major Depression Using Magnesium Treatment,” by George and Karen Eby. The article includes numerous case studies of using magnesium supplementation to reverse symptoms of depression.
Depression vs. deficiency?
The Ebys also speculate that the incidence of depression is growing because of widespread magnesium deficiency, caused by modern diets which lack magnesium-rich foods.
Magnesium deficiency also seems to play a role in migraines. A 2015 study on behalf of the Dolovent® Study Group, for instance, showed that migraine symptoms improved when patients took the Dolovent® supplement that includes magnesium, riboflavin and CoQ10 as the main ingredients. (NOTE: to ensure scientific validity, the study was a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, multicenter trial.) This recent study adds to a substantial body of research showing a link between magnesium deficiency and migraines.
So, what we have is research showing:
- A link between migraines and depression
- A link between migraines and magnesium deficiency
- A link between depression and magnesium deficiency
While there isn’t enough research to draw conclusions, there is enough research for you to talk with your doctor about your magnesium levels. This is particularly important if you’re experiencing migraines plus symptoms such as insomnia, fatigue, irritability, anger and anxiety. While these may be temporary responses to stress, they could also be signals of depression that need to be addressed.
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